Rohingya, China, Narrative, Ordeal, 1700, Disgust

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Myanmar: Marketing A Massacre

Francis Wade | New York Review Of Books | 17th October 2017

“Popular support for the military’s campaign has revealed a violently chauvinistic prejudice against Rohingya. The near-universality of this sentiment has chafed against the West’s simplistic earlier understanding of the ethnic and religious frictions that have long existed in Myanmar but were obscured both by military rule and by a tendency to view the political landscape of Myanmar in binary terms: a society seemingly unified in its virtuous opposition to its military rulers” (1,480 words)

Why Keep Writing About Chinese Politics?

Jessica Batke & Oliver Melton | China File | 16th October 2017

Expert accounts of the day-to-day inner workings of the Chinese government are pure guesswork. The Communist Party has regained and re-centralised control of its external relations to the extent that outsiders can discover nothing about its workings save by attempting to construe its propaganda. “Almost everything we know depends on information that has passed through opaque political deliberations and has been released for purposes that we do not fully understand” (4,600 words)

In Defense Of Third Person

Adam O'Fallon Price | The Millions | 18th October 2017

We think of fiction as stories about imagined versions of other people. But the market for new literary fiction increasingly favours imagined versions of one’s self. Six of the past ten National Book Award winners have been first-person narratives. In the preceding half-century the ratio was almost three-to-one in favour of third-person narratives. The shift may be an artifact of creative-writing classes, where students are advised to write in their own voice as a signal of honesty (2,600 words)

Why Trial By Ordeal Was Effective

Peter Leeson | Aeon | 17th October 2017

A game theory of how trial by ordeal worked — more or less — in medieval times. Priests would rig the proceedings to spare those who were clearly innocent and were willing to risk agony to prove as much. In these cases the water into which the accused plunged a hand was not actually boiling; the burning iron to be grasped was not so hot. The trial thus retained public confidence by sparing the wrongly accused while still intimidating those who knew themselves to be guilty (1,200 words)

Short Cuts: Harassment

Lucy Prebble | LRB | 13th October 2017

On Harvey Weinstein and others. “Weinstein has become a public monster overnight. But he’s not a monster, he’s a man. Today’s monster is yesterday’s ‘character’. And I could easily have liked him (it’s important to say that you can be harassed by people you like). Hollywood is run on charm as well as tantrums. We’re talking about power, the abuse of power, the power of abuse. But if we’re not honest about what this gets mixed in with, we can’t expose the problem” (1,800 words)

A Conversation With Mary Roach

Tyler Cowen | Conversations with Tyler | 18th October 2017

Topics include disgust, death, danger, and related issues. “What I found interesting about the things that disgust us, whether it’s saliva or urine or whatever, is that we draw this line: When it’s inside of us, we don’t have a problem with it, but as soon as it leaves the body, even if it’s our own saliva, it becomes disgusting. And you can map the boundaries of the self. If there’s saliva on your tongue and you stick your tongue outside the body, is it gross still? You can map the boundaries” (12,700 words)

Video of the day Chopin: Nocturnes Op. 27 No. 2 (Db major)

What to expect:

Daniel Barenboim, at the keyboard, explains the genius of Chopin (3’27”)

Thought for the day

To achieve greatness, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time
Leonard Bernstein

Podcast of the day The $629 Bandaid | Vox

Sarah Kliff, Byrd Pinkerton and Matt Yglesias try to understand how a hospital can charge $629 for a Bandaid

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